After an interesting trip to Laredo, where a meat drop at a forwarding facility took six times longer than the last time I had visited the exact same place only three weeks earlier, I dropped light load of Mexican produce in Broussard, Louisiana (although I repeat myself since Broussard shouts LOUISIANA all by itself) and was unloaded by 6 a.m.
Since I had been having APU problems YET AGAIN, after I dropped the produce I headed over to the Baton Rouge Thermo King dealership for a fix. I was low enough on hours that I needed a 34 hour reset, and I chose my reset location as a Pilot in Denham Springs, just east of BR. When you’re going to be sitting for a day and a half, minimum, you don’t want to be stuck at a truck stop that sits by itself, miles from civilization. This Pilot was situated in area that boasted multiple restaurants, a bingo hall, Bass Pro Shop (!), and a Sams Club (!!!), all within easy walking distance.
And the frosting on this commercial cake? An old friend from my BP Oil Spill days lived within a few miles and hosted neighborhood cookouts every Wednesday night. AND it was Wednesday. To complete the trifecta, he was in town and would be delighted to come and pick me up. I love it when a plan comes together.
I took a nice nap in order to be ready for a later than average night. I’d been packing it in between 8 and 9 p.m. for the last 10 days or so because I had been hitting the road at 4 or 5 a.m.
Dirk McGuyver (my name for him since he struck me as a guy who could go anywhere in the world and blow something up) came. We got caught up. We feasted on boiled crawfish. And since he was pretty well in the bag when he and a friend came to pick me up, he had a friend carry me (that’s southern-speak for “give me a ride”) back to my truck at about 10:30. A great, though long day. A successful delivery, a repaired Auxiliary Power Unit, a nap, and a feast. One of my better all around days in the trucking business.
The next day, I slept in, spent part of a leisurely day strolling around the Bass Pro Shop. Saw a ton of stuff I wanted including boats, ATVs, guns, shoes, and various articles of clothing. The ducks that were wandering the aisles looked like they might have been tasty. But I left empty handed. I did score some protein bars and trail mix in my trip through Sam’s.
I snagged some Mexican food that evening and turned in early since I’d been assigned a load that required a 4 a.m. pick up of refined products (not food?) on the west side of the Mississippi at an Exxon Mobil refinery in Port Allen. Well I’m glad I enjoyed my day because the pickup was really not at 4:00 although that’s when I got there. I was told at the gate that the load wasn’t quite ready. ELEVEN HOURS LATER!!!
So after a 34 hour reset I drove about 30 minutes and got to take another 10 hour break. With a fresh clock I drove as far as Baytown, TX. I did not want to get into a cycle of driving all night every night. Shutting down the truck for the night, I heard a hissing from under my tractor. Crap!
That brings us to the present. Here I sit (you knew it was coming) at a TA repair shop in Tonopah, Arizona, just west of Phoenix. I got here at around 2:30 p.m. local time yesterday. They crawled around under the truck and found that one of the air bags that serves as suspension for the cab had a hole in it. How it got there I’ll never know. This is not a part the TA keeps in inventory. So they had to wait until this morning to get the part from Kenworth in Phoenix.
Could be worse. This TA has a Country Pride restaurant with nice dinner and breakfast buffets. So I got a cheap take out dinner last night and a nice breakfast this morning.
We’re waiting for the part right now. Since I am waiting, I am not driving. If I’m not driving, I’m not making money. Fortunately (or unfortunately, depending on the viewpoint), my appointment to deliver to a Walmart Distribution Center north of Bakersfield isn’t until 4:30 p.m. tomorrow. I should be able to make that no problem (famous last words). Trouble is, by the time they complete the repair and I get to hit the road once again, I’ll be getting into greater Los Angeles at the beginning of rush hour.
[Heavy Sigh] I’ll let you know how it goes after the delivery or repower, whichever comes first.